BLACK LABEL SOCIETY is a band that not everybody is familiar with, but everyone knows Zakk Wylde. Without a doubt he is one of the preset gods on the guitar, discovered and nurtured by the old master of Metal, Ozzy Osbourne, Zall had started BLS as a side-project, which has not turned into his own band and his fulltime job. Not everyone likes the style of BLS, but the fans worship Zakk’s band, the Doom Crew stands behind him like wall and among the fans especially the album “1919 Eternal” is mentioned as the band’s best album.
Musically BLACK LABEL SOCIETY surely is not for everyone, most songs are heavy and slower placed, add to that energetic and filigree solos in the incomparable style of Zakk. For some the music might lack speed or variety or the solos might be viewed as too “fuddly”, but who likes good Hard/Heavy Rock with Southern Rock influences, will find a good catch in BLS.
One aspect that makes this album stand out is the production. The song writing and material of the two previous albums “Stronger Than Death” and “Sonic Brew” had already been excellent and both albums contain some songs that will stick to your memory like superglue, but the production had not been ideal. Often you had the feeling that the guitars had too much overdrive and that your speakers would explode, if you would crank it too high, “1919 Eternal” sounds a lot clearer. The solos are better implemented and the riffing also adds a brick in terms of heaviness, making it sound even better than before.
The songs are all very good, most of them mid-paced, opener “Bleed For Me“ widely is regarded as the best BLS song overall. Understandable, since it has this irresistible drive and a chorus that you can shout along immediately and won’t forget any time soon. But the rest of the songs are not slackers either, especially “Demise Of Sanity” has this inimitable stomping groove that works great in the live environment as well. As mentioned, all tracks are on a very high level, there is not a single weak song or even a dud. I’d like to point out “Graveyard Disciples” and the smasher “Genocide Junkies”, but you can basically take any track and nod your head along right away. As we all know, Zakk is a multi-talent and can do pretty much everything, I thoroughly enjoy even the calmer songs such as the ballad "Bridge To Cross" or the acoustic version of "America The Beautiful".
"1919 Eternal" definitely is one of the best albums that the BLACK LABEL SOCIETY has come up with so far, with some of their best songs.
(Online January 19, 2011)